i'm lying in bed, freshly showered, feeling those 13.1 miles in my calves. it was a gorgeous day. derek made it in in less than an hour and 40 minutes, jennie was in in 2 hours 9 minutes, and i came in at 2 hours and 12 minutes (official results). julie was there with the kids to cheer us on, and paul rode around on his mountain bike handing us energy gus and cheering us on at various spots on the course. woo hoo!
this is my older sister jennie. in a few weeks, on sunday, september 30, she will be running her first half marathon. i will be running my second half marathon. we'll be catching the changing of the foliage first hand as we cruise the streets of waterbury, vt in the annual Leaf Peepers race. jen and i have been training together since july, logging what first started out as 12 miles a week, to what has now become over 20 miles a week. we are following halhigdon's half marathon training schedule for novices. while we have run in the vermont city marathon as a relay team and at the catamount 5 K summer races, we're definitely still in the novice category.
like many of the challenges that i take on in my life, to face this particular feat, i had to double dog dare myself and tell lots of people that i was going to do it. That way there was no way i could possibly back down. (i definitely did this when i joined the peace corps -- how could i tell people i was going, and then not go? for that matter, how could i pay my $30 entrance fee and not run in Leaf Peepers? oh no, not on my tight budget).
i do not like to run. not really. well, okay, it's growing on me a little bit (there is truth in those endorphines everyone talks about). but believe you me, when i first started this, i didn't like running one bit, and was just doing it to say i had faced and conquered the challenge. but running & training do become easier when you know that if you don't train, you will die while trying to run 13.1 miles. there is no option but to get out of bed at 6 am and get those miles in.
having jennie as my training partner has gotten me through those early, dark mornings, those cold, rainy miles, and the hot, thirsty ones as well. for those of you who don't know, jennie is an OB/GYN and operates on little to no sleep (no pun intended, ha ha, no need to take that literally...). how she does it i do not know (though, "i'm not a manny" might be able to shed a little light on that). on her days and nights and wee hours on call, we had a system to determine when our daily run would be. she'd call me 15 minutes before the pre-determined time and let me know whether or not she had slept. you'd think no sleep would mean no running, but that wasn't necessarily the case. one morning jen called me at 6 am to say that she'd been up since 2 am, but that she was feeling pretty good, so would like to get our 10K race-pace run in before she completely crashed. another time, jennie called me with the frantic, "i'm about to have a baby so i can't run" message (not her baby, rather, her patient's baby).
because of jennie's busy schedule with her career and her family, i rarely get to spend quality time with her. training for Leaf Peepers has given us a chance to catch up, and is perhaps one of the reasons that i now don't mind running and actually look forward to it. also, if i have to toot or need an emergency bathroom break while running, i can with jennie. now that's a bonus that not all running partners can offer.
jen says that she will be disappointed in herself if she walks at all during our 13.1 miles. and i say nonsense. to train and face the challenge at all is enough of an accomplishment. i'm proud of her and us.